Monthly Archives: November 2012

Tuesday 27 November – MAIN Meeting – 5:30pm – 8:30pm

Alex Zaharov-Reutt

We’re nearly at the end of 2012, but there’s still November to fully get through and all of December to go first, along with this final main meeting of the year, complete with our traditional Christmas Party – an event that has been moved to the end of the meeting so there’s no rush to get back in to hear the presentation and so that we have a bit more of a party!

We will, however, have a presentation to get through first, after Robert Israel’s rundown on new business, new discoveries, new news, new sites and new software, and after what will probably be a slightly shortened Q&A session, we’ll launch straight into our guest presenter, Derek Austin, Nuance Sales Director, Dragon Integrated Technologies!

Derek has visited the Sydney PC Users Group several times over the years, with his earlier visit this year to show us just how far voice recognition, voice transcription, voice command and voice interaction software has advanced to the heights we see on the iOS, Android and today, the Windows Phone 8 platforms, along with demonstrations of Nuance’s latest apps.

Next Tuesday, the 27th of November, Derek is back to show us the very latest versions of Dragon Naturally Speaking 12 for PC, and Dragon Dictate 3.0 for Mac, with both using the same Dragon voice engine.

Dragon Dictate 3.0 for Mac only launched in late September 2012, and the latest PC version only a couple of months before that, and Derek will demonstrate to us just how far and fluid voice recognition, voice transcription and powerful computer control can be achieved on PCs and Macs – simply by speaking.

Given the polished nature of Dragon’s latest 2012 editions, all you need to do is learn the voice commands to use the system, and once you do, a powerful new way to use and interact with your computer is unleashed, as Derek will powerfully demonstrate on the night, and naturally, there’ll be a couple of copies of Dragon software to win on the night, which could make a great Christmas for yourself or some lucky friend or relative

So, come along and see how the 2012 version of voice recognition software can change and improve your life at the Sydney PC Users Group Main Meeting – a place where you always get to “voice” your opinion, whatever the presentation!

See you then and see you there,

Cheers
Alex.

Advertisements

CPU and Motherboard Replaced

On September 14th 2012, our Club’s computer failed to boot. It had worked OK earlier in the morning, but on re-booting, the problem appeared. [ We wanted to boot from a Recovery CD — yes, yes, very ironic. ]

The sequence was: 1) Press power on 2) Power light comes on 3) Black screen with no BIOS output and no single beep to indicate successful boot 4) Power down by itself and then repeat steps 2 to 4 endlessly.

We thought that it could be a BIOS problem, so we tried resetting it to the Factory Defaults (by taking the battery out for ten seconds). No joy there.

At lunchtime, we took the PC tower to a nearby computer store in York Street. They thought that it was either the motherboard or the CPU. The power supply seemed perfectly OK.

At the end of the afternoon SIG, three of us went to another computer store in the Capitol Centre to get both a new Intel i7 CPU and a new motherboard.

We bought the same brand motherboard (Gigabyte) to avoid any driver problems when booting from our existing hard drives.

Here are some stills taken from a video showing the replacing of the motherboard during another SIG meeting. The video was taken using the webcam connected to the President’s laptop. He selected these clear and focused stills from an hour or so of videos. Many thanks, Roger.

Checking the webcam

First, we checked the webcam connected to the laptop.

New Motherboard

The new motherboard. Note the two blue PCI Express slots. We could connect FOUR screens if we wanted to.

Old motherboard

The old motherboard – still inside the case, showing the 6GB of memory.

Checking the manual on memory placement

Checking the manual for advice on using 6GB (three cards) in a 4-slot array.

Old memory into new motherboard

The old DDR3 memory fits nicely into the new motherboard.

New motherboard is much smaller

Showing how much smaller the new motherboard is, compared to the old. Probably about 3 cm shorter.

Plastic push-up pillars

Showing the clever plastic push-up pillars to hold the motherboard above the steel casing. The other pillars are threaded brass.

Connecting audio cable

Now connecting the audio cable.

COM, LPT and TPM (Trusted Platform Module)

This shows COM and LPT port headers and the new TPM connector (Trusted Platform Module):

See: http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/how-to/pc-components/3356901/motherboard-port-guide-solving-your-connector-mystery/

TPM connector: Some off-the-shelf PCs and laptops use the Trusted Platform Module connector to link to a cryptographic processor module for storing encryption keys and handling dedicated encryption chores such as hard-drive encryption and certain types of digital rights management (DRM) decryption.

New motherboard slimmer too

Securing the new motherboard. Note how slim the new board is in width as well. Several of the brass pillars were then moved under the new board.

Power connections

Connecting the power lead onto the motherboard. Note the four blue SATA connectors in the centre of the shot. Two others are concealed in the white housing to the right (rather tricky to get to, since they connect horizontally).

USB 3.0 and HDMI / DVI connections

Showing the new USB 3.0 and HDMI / DVI connectors. Note the large fan in the right of this shot. It’s for the power supply. Previously, they had only small fans on the exterior of the case. No doubt the new design shifts more heat.

Removing case fan to install new motherboard

Temporarily removing the case fan to make room to lift out the old motherboard and put in the new one.

Snapping off faceplate for access to PCI slot

Wiggling and breaking off the metal faceplate to allow access to the card slots. We had only one PCI card to transfer which was the WiFi card.

Securing HUGE PCI Express card

Securing the huge video card into a PCI Express slot.

About to connect power

About to connect power…

The BIOS is ALIVE

The BIOS is ALIVE.

The GIGABYTE Dual UEFI BIOS Logo

Showing the GIGABYTE Dual UEFI BIOS logo.

Reboot and select proper Boot device

The message was to “Reboot and Select proper Boot device or insert Boot Media in selected Boot device and press a key” – no surprise there as there were no boot devices yet connected.

Everyone relaxes a little

Everyone then relaxes a little.


That was the end of Phase I – just getting to boot up to the BIOS with no hard drives or DVDs connected. The next phase, connecting these devices, was done at another SIG meeting.